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Cautious welcome from business world on Hammond's conference speech

Cautious welcome from business world on Hammond's conference speech

Ruth Davidson last night said freezing university tuition fees is "not enough" to win back voters as she said the Tories must offer young people a slice of the "UK dream".

The chancellor also said his party must address concerns over pressure on living standards and housing costs.

He confirmed plans to spend £10 billion to assist home-buyers through the Help to Buy scheme and £400 million to improve transport infrastructure in the North of England.

"They say politics is about the clash of ideas. But we will not join them on a voyage to ever closer union". And we will defeat them.

BCC director general Adam Marshall said Hammond's defense of capitalism and markets would be welcomed by businesses, but added, "the fight back for a strong, competitive market economy has only just begun".

While the United Kingdom faced a number of challenges, including Brexit-related uncertainty, sluggish productivity and a housing sector which many people young people thought was "rigged" against them, he said free markets were the only, not merely the best, way to improve living standards and underpin free societies.

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"And while no-one suggests a market economy is ideal, it is the best system yet designed for making people steadily better off over time and underpinning strong and sustainable public services for everyone".

"Leadership is about ensuring that you have a team of people who aren't yes men, but a team of people of different voices around the table so that we can discuss matters, come to an agreement and then put that government view forward and that is exactly what we've done".

He urged Conservative activists to take on the argument voiced at Labour's conference in Brighton last week that the capitalist economic model which has held sway since the time of Margaret Thatcher had failed.

Healey also used the HuffPost piece to reiterate other Labour policies for the private rental sector, including more landlord licensing, unspecified "new minimum standards" and the issuing of three year tenancy terms as standard: these were already contained in Labour June 2017 General Election manifesto.

"We face an immediate challenge as we move ahead", he told Tory activists.

Meanwhile, the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) said its members were "growing impatient with division" at the heart of the government around the Brexit process, and called for ministers to show "competence and coherence". That is necessary, but not sufficient.